IDK by Van Houten sounds like the sort of thing you would’ve heard on tiktok back in March 2020 as teenagers started to enter the cutesy little ‘indie’ phase that lasted until the end of summer. There are only two things to criticise about it: the lack of enunciation that make some of the lyrics barely comprehensible and the long, overly dragged-out final chord. Other than that, I think this song has perfectly encapsulated the thoughts running through the minds of most people following a year of lockdowns.
Frustration of being stuck in the same repetitive, monotonous cycle is a core theme of this song. Giving young people an entire year to be introspective in their own company will probably be judged as one of the poorer public health decisions of our time, and its captured perfectly in the lines “can’t figure out what kinda life I should lead/can’t figure out what kinda person to be/I’m getting sick and tired of trying to pretend I know”.
The vibe of the song is the sunny March afternoons at the beginning of the first lockdown, where we weren’t overly worried about tomorrow and were enjoying the bliss of what we believed to be just ‘a few weeks off work’, but with the lingering spectre of our future being mortgaged. This song is the holiday feeling before going back to school and having all that “isn’t everything cool” knocked out of you by a terrible term – almost happiness with a dash of anxiety.
Like any good song, it captures a moment in time. What you make of that depends on your age and stage of life.